Import and re-export of packaging

You can use an oral declaration to import or export packaging intended for re-export or re-import filled without payment of import charges. Packaging can include boxes, crates, cylinders, cages and so on.

Generally security is not required when you declare your goods using the oral declaration form or authorisation for oral declaration.

Oral declaration authorisation

If you import or export empty packaging intended for re-export or re-import filled you should complete  an oral declaration for each consignment. This is normally a paper form presented to customs at the time of importation.

The scenarios that this covers include:

  • Import empty packaging – re-export packaging filled
  • Import filled packaging – re-export empty packaging
  • Export empty packaging – re-import filled packaging
  • Export filled packaging – re-import empty packaging.

You can apply for an authorisation to import your items without having to present the oral declaration form with each consignment. This type of authorisation may suit you if you frequently import and export packaging.

How to apply for an oral declaration authorisation

You should complete an application form for oral declaration authorisation and send it to We will review your application and if everything is in order we will send you an authorisation number.

How to use your oral declaration authorisation

From 1 January 2021 ferry operators carrying goods between Ireland and Great Britain (GB) must get a Pre-Boarding Notification (PBN) reference number from all truck drivers boarding. An importer or their representative must complete a valid PBN to Irish customs before the goods leave GB on the way to Ireland.  An exporter or their representative must complete a valid PBN to Irish Customs before the goods leave Ireland on the way to GB. When creating a PBN you should enter your authorisation number to use the oral declaration for empty or return packaging in the relevant field.

You must keep records of the import or export of the empty packaging and the subsequent re-export or re-import of the filled packaging.

Further information

If you require further information, please contact the Authorisations and Reliefs Unit.